It is quite clear the government has forgotten about the essential role being played by community media, more especially in rural communities.
Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications Veronica Van Dyk said instead of supporting community media, the government is suppressing their voices.
Van Dyk’s comments is a sequel to a reply to DA Parliamentary question.
Communications Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, revealed that Department of Communications with R11, 9 million budget, only spent a mere R1.3 million on advertising in community media in the 2016/17 financial year.
The DA believes that government should adequately and sustainably fund community media.
“Underfunding or lack of funds will have a severe impact on the quality of programming and the development and retaining of skills,” said Van Dyk.
Van Dyk said without advertising, community media will fail to make revenue and stay afloat, saying this will force publications to close shop.
She said it was community radio stations and newspapers which empower our people and bring them to the centre of participating in the national debate.
“Community radio is the most affordable and accessible communication technology available to many South Africans in rural communities. It is an essential tool to assist in carrying the country forward,” said Van Dye.